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cityboi

downtown potential for Greensboro and Winston-Salem

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First and foremost, this is not a my city is better than your city thread. Just an honest debate in comparing the two city's downtown. Its ok to state which city and how its downtown has more potential. A debate was opened up in another thread of a different topic. So to stay on topic it was better to start a new thread. What is the potential for the two downtowns based on their sizes and current and future initiatives? And how it will affect the Triad as a whole?

 

The size of a downtown, big or small has its plus sides and its downsides. Winston-Salem has a slightly larger downtown than Greensboro. One advantage of having a large downtown is having enough available real estate for public spaces, residential development and larger scale projects such as the Innovation Quarter. On the other hand Greensboro's downtown is a little smaller. The plus side to having a smaller downtown is being able to walk to everything in a relatively close distance. It also will begin to force developers to plan more vertical projects. While both cities are focusing on jobs, entertainment, residential and cultural attractions for their downtowns, each city seems to focus more on one or two areas. For example, While Greensboro is beginning to focus on attracting companies to its city-center with its Union Square joint university campus and eventually an entire downtown university district, for the past 10 years there has been less focus on attracting companies to downtown and a greater focus on residential, restaurants, entertainment, parks and venues such as the baseball stadium and performing arts center. While Winston-Salem has also been focusing on these thing, there has been a greater effort in luring high paying white collar jobs to its center-city. Some point out the fact that Winston-Salem doesn't have the infrastructure that leads to more sprawl, it makes it easier for business to set up downtown. Greensboro does have a greater challenge because while the airport is at Greensboro's doorstep, it makes it easier for jobs to move near the airport as oppose to downtown.

Edited by cityboi

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I think Winston-Salem's downtown has more potential when it comes to redevelopment while Greensboro's has more when it comes to new development. Of course both have potential in both areas, but that's where I see most of their strengths lying.

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Without a doubt Winston-Salem has more unique opportunities because of it large inventory of historic buildings thanks the RJR's presence. Most of Greensboro's downtown historic buildings line Elm Street and they are smaller commercial buildings. The Cones didnt build their textile mills downtown so it lacks a street grid of larger historic industrial buildings to be redeveloped. Since most of downtown Greensboro's historic buildings are occupied, you are right in that most of Greensboro's future downtown development will be be new construction. The challenge with new construction is scale and architecture. There have been some poor examples of new construction in terms of architecture and how they fit in with nearby buildings on the west side of downtown Greensboro. The YMCA, Arbor House and the Carolina Bank headquarters are poor examples for different reasons. The YMCA is just plain ugly and I think there could have been some more imagination in design.  I dont like the layout because the front of the building faces the parking lot and not the street. Arbor House looks nice but it doesn't fit well with its location. Carolina Bank looks like a suburban bank. Those were missed opportunities but I think developers are beginning to pay attention to such details in projects now in the planning stages.

Edited by cityboi

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The sky is the limit for both cities.  

 

I see Greensboro being cozy, friendly...a very neighborly city that still caters to the college crowd at night.  Entertainment will be Greensboro's strength by offering top notch venues all over downtown.  Public spaces will be outstanding here.  The greenway loop will be a tremendous development generator.  Corporate growth will not be as robust as residential and retail/restaurant. However, that will add to downtown's appeal.

 

Judging from what's happening today and downtown master plans, I'd give the most potential nod to Winston-Salem. I see the Twin City being your overall dynamic, healthy, American downtown...but with it's own lane.  Growth will be fluid and not forced. As redevelopment options dwindle, new construction becomes the norm.  Like the now 'official' nickname states, arts and innovation will be the drivers.   

Edited by krazeeboi

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I was just thinking about both cities downtown directions in regards to the article posted in the other thread about the Atlanta National Civil Rights Museum and Greensboro's museum.

 

I think Greensboro has already become and will continue to build itself as the entertainment center of the Triad.  It has some very good nightlife, the planned downtown Performing Arts Center, the downtown minor league, and the museum as well as new parks and greenway loops.  

 

What's interesting though is what it doesn't have downtown and that is the feeling that you go to work downtown.  The largest and most prominent corporate employers seem to be by the airport or the highways. .

 

Winston Salem however is a bit of the opposite with it's Downtown seeming to represent where you go to work with most of its major employers are - not just corporate but the Innovation Park biotech labs and companies.   It has some great restaurants and bars seem more independent type places that cater to the business crowd. I perceive it is more likely to get additional apartment projects for the young and highly educated professionals who want to walk to work.

 

This isn't to say Winston Salem doesn't have nightlife (or its own Minor League Stadium) nor is it to say there are no people who work in downtown Greensboro, but I think if each build off the strengths I just observed - both downtowns could thrive very well. 

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I was just thinking about both cities downtown directions in regards to the article posted in the other thread about the Atlanta National Civil Rights Museum and Greensboro's museum.

 

I think Greensboro has already become and will continue to build itself as the entertainment center of the Triad.  It has some very good nightlife, the planned downtown Performing Arts Center, the downtown minor league, and the museum as well as new parks and greenway loops.  

 

What's interesting though is what it doesn't have downtown and that is the feeling that you go to work downtown.  The largest and most prominent corporate employers seem to be by the airport or the highways. .

 

Winston Salem however is a bit of the opposite with it's Downtown seeming to represent where you go to work with most of its major employers are - not just corporate but the Innovation Park biotech labs and companies.   It has some great restaurants and bars seem more independent type places that cater to the business crowd. I perceive it is more likely to get additional apartment projects for the young and highly educated professionals who want to walk to work.

 

This isn't to say Winston Salem doesn't have nightlife (or its own Minor League Stadium) nor is it to say there are no people who work in downtown Greensboro, but I think if each build off the strengths I just observed - both downtowns could thrive very well. 

 

I think your observation is accurate and is mainly a result of the economies of both cities. Winston-Salem is a bit more white-collar while Greensboro is a bit more blue-collar with its manufacturing and distribution companies.

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I think the lack of major corporate presence in downtown Greensboro is a big reason it has a smaller skyline than Winston-Salem. You are correct that most of the city's headquarters are not located downtown. The only real major headquarters in downtown Greensboro is Wrangler and the insurance division of Lincoln Financial. Companies such as RF Micro, VF Corp, Lorillard and NewBridge Bank have chosen to locate in other areas of the city. Greensboro is going to have to figure out how to attract larger companies to the center-city. Winston-Salem's downtown does have more of a corporate feel and it always has.

Edited by cityboi

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Looks like both Greensboro and Winston-Salem are seeing heavy investment around their downtown ballparks. Developers in Winston-Salem just announced a massive mixed-use project that will include hundreds of apartments, retail restaurant and maybe a hotel and grocery store. Greensboro is seeing similar development around its ballpark with three upscale apartment complexes, A massive midrise complex called Bellemeade Village will be under construction this year and include 300 plus apartments, ground level retail, a Hyatt Place Hotel and roof top pools overlooking NewBridge Bank Ballpark. Deep Roots grocery store is also nearby.

 

proposed Brookstone District at BB&T Ballpark in Winston-Salem

 

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The Link Apartments in Winston-Salem

 

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planned  Bellemeade Village overlooking NewBridge Bank Park in Greensboro

 

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Greenway at Stadium Park Apartments in Greensboro (construction is almost complete)

 

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Greenway at Fisher Park Apartments in Greensboro near the ballpark

 

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Edited by cityboi

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Yes, both are similar, both are beautiful.

 

Winston's is dramatically larger though which is a bit scary since its all new construction.  580 flats, 250 hotel rooms and 600,000 sf of commercial.  Who are they in talks with to take up 300,000 sf of office and 300,000 sf of retail?  Primo? BB&T? WFBMC? Or is it someone new to Winston?

 

The mayor said that 2 or more projects would make 2015 a banner year for downtown.  I guess this is one of them and I'm assuming the Bailey Power Plant, mixed-use tower at 4th and Broad and GMAC are the others??

 

Bigger images including the two office buildings:

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Edited by twincity

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A pretty good read from TCB. Here's the main take away from the article.

The downtowns of Winston-Salem and Greensboro experienced brisk growth in the first half of the decade, with the aggregate value of real estate in downtown Winston-Salem topping $1 billion in 2015. Meanwhile, Greensboro, a city with a larger population but a smaller, more diffuse downtown, is gaining on its more dynamic neighbor to the west, increasing aggregate value from $765.9 million to $972.0 million in the past five years. (although this statement is confusing considering the sample area TCB selected indicated the total acreage in DTWS as 358 acres while DTGSO was 390 acres as well as the fact that they acknowledge that due to the timing of each County's property reevaluation schedules caused Winston to put a very small % increase in the most recent reval.)

Building on investments in Restaurant Row on West Fourth Street, the Milton Rhodes Arts Center and the BB&T Ballpark in the past 15 years, the most dramatic transformation in downtown Winston-Salem is the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, an urban research park rising from the historic RJ Reynolds tobacco works, which in turn is catalyzing a housing boom.

http://triad-city-beat.com/who-owns-downtown-gso-ws/

Edited by zalo

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